Making the rounds with me one Thanksgiving night, my friend T.J. found himself being educated by an old Armenian man who lectured him on African-American history.
Aram Gulezian, a gentleman and a scholar who died in March 2008 at the age of 101, was in top form on this holiday many years ago. He felt it his duty to inform the young black airman about such heroes as Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson and Marcus Garvey. When T.J. failed to recognize one of the names, my friend's dad just about lost it.
"You don't know squat about your people," he announced, using a word that rhymes with wit. He promptly changed the subject back to genocide.
Although I still use that line on T.J. every time he fails to recognize the name of some third-rate rapper, a new documentary about Valentino made me realize I don't know squat about my people, either.
"Valentino: The Last Emperor," opening Friday at the Loft, tells the dramatic story of the Italian designer who became a fashion icon more than four decades ago. How could I have known so little about Valentino Garavani, one of the most influential gay men on the planet?
Granted, I've never paid much attention to haute couture or even ready-to-wear. But the movie is hardly about clothes, anyway. It's about a singular man, now 77, who claims not to know anything else but how to make beautiful dresses for women. The co-star is Valentino's co-star for nearly 50 years: Giancarlo Giammetti, his business and life partner and a man whose love and patience know no bounds.
The film centers on their relationship and also on a lavish celebration in Rome marking Valentino's 45 years in fashion. The celebrity-rich event bathed the Colosseum in Valentino Red.
Directed by Matt Tyrnauer, a special correspondent for Vanity Fair, the movie was culled from more than 250 hours of fly-on-the-wall footage. It captures the touching final act of a pop-culture giant. "Tyson" just got a lot sadder
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is the subject of an acclaimed documentary opening June 26 at the Loft, 3233 E. Speedway.
The fighter's 4-year-old daughter died Tuesday following an accident on the treadmill at his Phoenix home on Monday.
I don't know whether little Exodus Tyson appears in the new film from director James Toback. But this sad news will add an unspoken layer of human drama to "Tyson."
Cinema La Placita on Twitter
You probably know that Cinema La Placita features a classic movie on its outdoor screen every Thursday between now and October.
But did you know that you can get schedule updates, including rain cancellations, via Twitter?
Go to twitter.com/cinema laplacita and click "follow."
Tonight's movie, by the way, is "We're No Angels" (1955), starring Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov and Aldo Ray. M. Scot's a Twit, too
You can follow me on Twitter, but bear in mind that I'm a newbie, so my tweeting is still in twaining (twitter.com/ mscotskinner).